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Steelers Report Card: Grading the Steelers victory over the Falcons

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BTSC breaks out the red pen and assigns grades to the Steelers after their 41-17 win over Atlanta.

Atlanta Falcons v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images

You know the story. I’m not a football coach, or a teacher, but I play one in blogs and podcasts. I wasn’t looking forward to the Steelers Week-5 pairing with the Falcons, but they turned me into Michael Corleone and pulled me back in with an inspired effort.

Grading games is an extremely difficult and somewhat thankless task. While the coaches’ grades, of course, are what count the most, the media and fans can’t help but evaluate as well.

So let’s take a look at BTSC’s early perceptions:

Offense

NFL: Atlanta Falcons at Pittsburgh Steelers Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

The offensive line gave Benjamin Todd more time to throw, but he looked extremely off in the early going. No. 7 was forcing the ball to Antonio Brown, overthrowing dudes and the interception to close the half was inexcusable. But he pulled it all together in the second half with three TDs and going 19-for-29 with 250 yards in the air.

James Conner looked like a complete back with 110 yards rushing on 21 carries and two scores. No. 30 added 75 more on four receptions. He carried the team when Ben looked sub-par early on.

Antonio Brown looked spectacular with six catches for 101 yards and two scores. The seven targets to him that didn’t result in completions were the result of poor throws. JuJu was money as well, with four catches (on four targets), 34 yards and a touchdown. The ensuing celebration was corny at best.

NFL: Atlanta Falcons at Pittsburgh Steelers Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

Overall Offense Grade: B+

Poll

What grade would you assign the Steelers offense after their 41-17 win over Atlanta?

This poll is closed

  • 40%
    A
    (544 votes)
  • 55%
    B
    (741 votes)
  • 2%
    C
    (39 votes)
  • 0%
    D
    (2 votes)
  • 0%
    F
    (3 votes)
1329 votes total Vote Now

Defense

With the exception of Bud Dupree’s multiple hands-to-face flags, this was a more disciplined defense with much better scheming against a high-powered offense. T.J. Watt’s three sacks, Cam Heyward’s 1.5 and L.J. Fort channeling his inner “Olsavsky” gave the defense a huge lift. Blitzing is huge. Everybody played better. While there were some defensive lapses that made one think, “here we go again,” the entire unit played better. Joe Haden, Artie Burns, Cam Sutton and Mike Hilton came up big against Julio Jones, Mo Sanu and Calvin Ridley. I’m still pinching myself on this performance.

Atlanta Falcons v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

Overall Defense Grade: A-

Poll

What grade would you assign the Steelers defense after their 41-17 win over Atlanta?

This poll is closed

  • 46%
    A
    (614 votes)
  • 46%
    B
    (606 votes)
  • 6%
    C
    (83 votes)
  • 0%
    D
    (2 votes)
  • 0%
    F
    (4 votes)
1309 votes total Vote Now

Special Teams:

Still not happy with the service at the B&B (Boswell and Berry), but Danny Smith’s unit rose to the top against Atlanta. Without DHB, the coverage was great against a good return unit. Brian Allen was superb. It was awesome to see a punt block. Gotta love Rosie Nix.

Overall Special Teams Grade: A-

Poll

What grade would you assign the Steelers ST unit after their 41-17 win over Atlanta?

This poll is closed

  • 43%
    A
    (529 votes)
  • 43%
    B
    (525 votes)
  • 11%
    C
    (136 votes)
  • 1%
    D
    (16 votes)
  • 0%
    F
    (7 votes)
1213 votes total Vote Now

Overall Team Grade: A-

Co-Valedictorians: James Conner and T.J. Watt

Honor Roll: Brian Allen, Roosevelt Nix, The Offensive Line, Joe Haden, Antonio Brown, L.J. Fort, Cam Heyward, Artie Burns, Mike Hilton, The Offensive Line, 2nd Half Ben Roethlisberger

Detention: Chris Boswell, Bud Dupree’s lack of discipline and 1st Half Ben Roethlisb

It wasn’t the perfect win, but it came at the perfect time. Sure, the quarterback needs to tighten things up a good bit and the defense has some cleaning up to do as well. But great strides were made against a high-powered attack. Going on a run the next three contests. could definitely right this ship and this victory might be the kick-starter for a turnaround.

Poll

What overall grade would you assign the Steelers after their 41-17 win over Atlanta?

This poll is closed

  • 44%
    A
    (511 votes)
  • 50%
    B
    (585 votes)
  • 3%
    C
    (41 votes)
  • 0%
    D
    (3 votes)
  • 0%
    F
    (9 votes)
1149 votes total Vote Now